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Iraq's Presidency Council Approves U.S. Security Pact

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- Iraq's Presidency Council has approved a security pact with the United States that paves the way for a complete U.S. troop pullout by the end of 2011, a spokesman for the council said.

The pact, which brings in sight an end to the U.S. military presence that has lasted since the 2003 invasion, passed through parliament last month after protracted negotiations. It is supposed to be put to a public referendum next year.

Iraq's three-member Presidency Council, which includes President Jalal Talabani and his two vice presidents, must unanimously approve all legislation passed by parliament or it goes back to the house.

"The Presidency Council has endorsed the security pact with the United States. That means this pact is put into force," Presidency Council chief of staff Naseer al-Ani told Reuters.